Explore the oldest national park in Utah. There is so much to see in Zion National Park, including dozens of desert waterfalls, slot canyons, tall mountains, lush rivers, and much more. Native Americans inhabited the land 8,000 years ago. Over the thousands of years, several Native American tribes inhabited the area, including the Paiute people. In 1858, Mormons began to settle the land. Former President of the United States, William Taft, wanted to protect Zion Canyon, so he named it the Mukuntuweap National Monument. The National Park Service changed the name to Zion National Monument in 1918. On November 19, 1919, the national monument was changed to a national park. In 1937, the Zion National Monument name was later used to protect the Kolob Canyon. This section was later added to Zion National Park in 1956 to make the park what it is today. Now Zion National Park spans over 146,597 acres of land and is inhabited by numerous plant, bird, mammal, and reptile species.
The park offers a wide variety of easy, moderate, and strenuous hikes. All are worth experiencing, but make sure you pack plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen. Zion National Park’s hikes include:
- Pa’rus Trail (3.5 miles roundtrip)
- Archeology Trail (0.4 miles roundtrip)
- Lower Emerald Pool Trail (1.2 miles roundtrip)
- The Grotto Trail (1 mile roundtrip)
- Weeping Rock Trail (0.4 miles roundtrip)
- Riverside Trail (2.2 miles roundtrip)
- Watchman Trail (3.3 miles roundtrip)
- Sand Bench Trail (7.6 miles roundtrip)
- Upper Emerald Pool Trail (1 mile roundtrip)
- Kayenta Trail (2 miles roundtrip)
- Canyon Overlook Trail (1 miles roundtrip)
- Taylor Creek Trail (5 miles roundtrip)
- Timber Creek Overlook Trail (1 mile roundtrip)
- Angels Landing via West Rim Trail (5.4 miles roundtrip)
- Hidden Canyon Trail (2.4 miles roundtrip)
- Observation Point via East Rim Trail (8 miles roundtrip)
- The Narrows via Riverside Walk (9.4 miles roundtrip)
- Kolob Arch via La Verken Creek Trail (14 miles roundtrip)
Two must hike trails are Angels Landing and The Narrows. Both are considered strenuous, but they offers views that you will not see anywhere else. Angels Landing is not for the faint hearted as there are steep drop offs and narrow pathways. The first two miles are paved, but the final half mile is completely opposite. You must follow anchored support chains up a steep, narrow ridge until you reach the summit that overlooks Zion Canyon. For the first mile of The Narrows via Riverside Walk is a paved trail along the Virgin River. The latter part of the hike involves hiking in the river between high canyon walls.
If you are planning on staying multiple days, Zion National Park has three campgrounds. The South Campground and Watchman Campground are near the south entrance of the park. If you are wanting a more primitive campsite, you will want to camp at the Lava Point Campground. There are only six campsites (much less than the other two campgrounds), but Lava Point Campground is a one hour drive from Zion Canyon. If you arrive at Lave Point Campground and there are no campsites available, the Kolob Reservoir is not within the perimeter of Zion National Park, but you can wild camp along the shore. The reservoir is only a 20 minute drive from the Lava Point Campground.
Explore Utah’s oldest national park, Zion National Park.